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Outbreak Company

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Ginko, Mar 31, 2017.

  1. Ginko Trophy Collector

    Sep 28, 2016
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    +8 / 0 / -0
    Otaku culture isn't usually something that's celebrated, but in this anime, being an otaku is not only a good thing, it's an actual job you can have.

    Shinichi Kano has very few actual skills besides his love for anime and manga. It just so happens he finds an employer looking for those exact qualifications - the Japanese government. After being "offered" the job, he wakes up in a whole other world that looks like it was ripped straight from the pages of fantasy manga. His work, as it turns out, is to teach otaku culture to a whole kingdom.

    A group of soldiers happen upon a wormhole near Mt. Fuji, and discover a humanoid civilization based around magic. After an uneasy first meeting, the kingdom of the Eldant empire and the Japanese government come to some preliminary agreements. They experiment with a few cultural exchanges, and found that anime and manga garnered the strongest positive response from the Eldant. To avoid political misunderstandings and grow relationships between the two cultures, they enlist civilian Shinichi to help them spread anime and manga among the Eldant peoples. He can barely contain his enthusiasm.

    After getting established as an ambassador, he founds a new school for youngsters that makes teaching much easier, but quickly finds out that housing the various races of Eldant is harder than he first thought. Flagrant racism is sadly the norm, but Shinichi works to unite them through shared nerdiness. Helping him are his half-elf maid Myucel, JSDF member (and fujoshi) Minori, and werewolf friend Elbia. Everything seems to go swimmingly until some in the Eldant kingdom see the Japanese as invaders.

    Analysis and Impressions
    The whole of Outbreak Company is both a parody and a celebration of anime tropes. From the first episode of quoting Evangelion, the series makes a lot of references and utilizes familiar character archetypes. Empress Petralka is a textbook tsundere, and likewise Myucel is a submissive moe. The characters, as archetypal as they are, do blend well though. However, one trope I wish there was less of are the typical fan-servicey stuff. Gandering at bosoms, a swimsuit episode, and awkward inter-gender encounters are all present and accounted for. I mean, I get it, hyper-sexuality is all over anime, so it makes sense that it would be shown prominently in an anime that showcases otaku culture, but that doesn't make it any less annoying.

    Some of the narrative surrounds racism and nationalism, which is appropriately topical these days. Shinichi's school acts as a symbol for the kingdom, bringing about peace between the races of Eldant and show them they are more alike than different. When they aren't reading Attack on Titan, they are trying to reconcile the relationships between elves and dwarves, or address the treatment of servants in a noble house. Most of the time though, the episodes play out like a slice-of-life harem comedy. The characters might explore some facet of otaku culture, or even just have some everyday discussion.

    It's not too shabby as a comedy, either. One scene involving the interrogation of a spy from a neighboring country is one of my favorites. The soccer episode is full of laughs, too. Most of the humor comes from Shinichi's geeking out, or from cultural misunderstandings between the Japanese and the Eldant. Petralka the empress tsundere is perfect, and her frustrations over Shinichi's popularity with the girls gives him no end of grief.

    Who is it for?
    This anime is best appreciated by fans that have been around a while. The multitude of references might be lost on you otherwise. Even if you're a casual comedy fan, there's plenty of good laughs here.

    However, anyone that finds these same references and tropes tiresome, then an entire series about them probably won't be up your alley.

    Outbreak Company is 12 episodes and available on JustDubs.

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